History

Chase Park is situated on Rectory Lane Broom Lane and Front Street (B6317) in the busy heart of Whickham.Opposite the ancient parish church of St Mary’s the Virgin parts of which date from Norman times. It is the oldest Church in the Durham Diocese

The park itself was previously the private estate of Whickham Chase, formerly known as Whickham House. In the 1800’s the Forster family lived there had a horse named “Underhand” which won the Northumberland plate in 1857 &1859 and it is thought he renamed his house from Whickham House to The Chase. It was the residence of several prosperous local professional gentleman, industrialists and merchants, including the Leaton and Wilkinson families. The earliest evidence of people living there is 1714.

The last owner was Mr J Wilkinson who sold the site in 1937 to Whickham Urban District Council, which became part of Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council in 1974.

Although the house was demolished in 1960, the stable block remains as well as the ornamental gardens containing mature trees, shrubs and lawns.

Other historic landscape features within the park include the Grade II listed windmill, described as new in 1720, the high sandstone retaining walls which form the western and northern boundaries of the park and the entrance gates from Rectory Lane and Broom Lane.

Part of the area was developed for recreation in the 1930s as part of the King George‘s Fields Foundation initiative, the creation of public open spaces dedicated to the memory of King George V who died in 1936.

The stone walls, the mature tree coverage, attractive gardens of the former house and the old windmill contribute greatly to the character of Whickham town centre and Conservation Area, especially given the park’s central location in town.

Chase Park is on Gateshead Council’s Local List of Buildings of Special Local Architectural or Historic Interest.

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